Top 10 tips for dating the Dutch
10th February 2015, 5 comments
While many foreigners initially find the dating scene in the Netherlands daunting or inaccessible, understanding Dutch mentality can help reduce miscommunicating the ‘flirting' signals as practiced in the Netherlands.
While the Dutch are not renowned for being touchy on a first date, direct eye contact is the norm so don't be put off by incessant staring. Intimidating or sexy? You decide. Friends also usually kiss three times on the cheek in greeting, and some strangers may kiss when being introduced to someone through a friend, although a handshake is more common.
Splitting the bill
Chivalry has dissipated into the form of fairness. It is not uncommon to split the bill on the first date - right down to the last cent's worth of what you ate. Some say unromantic, but Dutch relationships pride themselves on equality. Another option is for one person to pay for, say, drinks and the other for movie tickets. Either way, be prepared that a date is not always going to be free ride, and free drinks in bars might not be that forthcoming.
It's unnerving approaching a group of men or women to strike up a conversation with someone you have your eye on – but such is the dating scene in the Netherlands. Foreigners sometimes feel isolated by the mass social gatherings, but unless you see another way in, you'll just have to brave it and charge – and accept the possible rejection, or possibly even a group first date.
Some report the Dutch avoid making ‘real' contact with foreigners, making it difficult to get past the first dating hurdle and settle down. But it's not impossible – many foreigners report happy relationships (and marriages) with Dutch nationals. Making new Dutch friends or partners may be difficult at first, but once break through, you'll find the Dutch can make very loyal friends or partners for life.
Keeping it casual
The Dutch aren't known for dressing to the hilt. Part of this has to do with the prevalent bike culture – have you ever tried biking in high heels and a mini skirt, through the rain? The Dutch laid back attitude tends to extend to clothes (and makeup), so you may want to take it down a notch if you're used to getting very gussied up for a date. Don't take it personally if your date shows up in sneakers.
Don't always trust the forums
While expat forums can provide some helpful advice, their dating threads are often the setting for uninhibited (and often unrepresentative) venting: "Dutch women here are rude, arrogant and unfriendly." "The only thing Dutch men have really taken to heart is 'going Dutch'." Resist the temptation and look for more balanced advice elsewhere.
Be open to cultural differences
Be aware of the impact of cultural differences on your relationship. Misunderstanding can easily arise when dating someone new, especially if your different upbringing means that you often take very different things for granted. Try to be patient, relax and don't expect him/her to act exactly like the girls/guys back home. And on that note...
Learn more about the Dutch
Do you know the meaning of gezellig? And that within many Dutch men and women there is a battle between the inner tolerance and the inner Calvinist? Would you presume that ‘you little fart' is an insult? Learning the basics of Dutch culture can do wonders for your love life – and your Dutch life in general.
Every person is unique
Would you describe yourself as just another American/Australian/Belgian...? The same applies to the Dutch. The bottom line is – you are dating a person you like, not the country they are from. So keep an open mind and enjoy yourself. As the Dutch would say: Succes.
Casey Marriot / Cormac Mac Ruairi / Expatica
Looking for love? Interested in making new friends? Register for free at Expatica Date to meet the most eligible internationals in the Netherlands.
Updated from 2013.
5 comments on this article Add a comment
30th September 2013, 19:13:55 elvis posted:show me one dutch girl who does not smoke or does not drink or does not have pets?
2nd October 2013, 14:20:24 Stephen Johnston posted:When I first started dating my wife, I was here on a vacation from Canada. We went back to her apartment, and she lit a bunch of candles. I thought she was being romantic.
She wasn't...she was was being 'gezellig'.
I complemented her, and she promptly called me a 'slimeball', which insteas of having the North American meaning of 'dirtbag' basically means anybody who complements anybody else.
The Dutch don't takecomplements very easily.
Nevermind. All these misadventures led to a happy marriage!
Of course, everybody came to the wedding in jeans...lol
2nd October 2013, 15:57:31 carrico posted:Oh, Elvis, stop beating yourself up. I agree to a certain extent. For example, I once saw this gorgeous, fair-haired lass, who pedaled, in high heels, her fiets up to a coffee shop for, I guess, a quick one. I was drinkin' Heineken across the street. Also, I was old enough to be her father. One can dream, though.
27th October 2013, 14:46:58 kasper posted:Just two notes:
1. in contrast as said in the text, it is only common in Belgium to give kisses when meeting someone for the first time. In the Netherlands, it is usual to give a hand when meeting someone, even when introduced to that person by a friend. When you get to know someone you (might) give them three kisses on the cheeks.
2. Dutch people don't give or take compliments very easy. However, that doesn't mean they don't like to get one. Just keep it casual and not too many.
20th February 2015, 21:53:02 pascalle posted:Well, I am Dutch, I don't drink, I don't smoke and I don't have a pet. Stop stereotyping.